What Is Technology? Definition, Types, Examples
Let’s board a time machine and get a first-hand view of how technology shaped human history. Ready?
Welcome to the ancient world, where the first-ever technology, stone tools, was invented. Next stop, the medieval ages. Look, many sailing ships are trying to discover new lands.
What are making those loud factory-like noises? Welcome to the Industrial Revolution era with many steam-powered machines. Next stop, the modern age. The technological innovations here are endless. There is nuclear technology, computers, and space rockets.
Wait! Is that a flying car? Are aliens invading the earth? Are those robots fighting humans? Just kidding. You get the picture. Technologies solve problems faced by human beings.
What to know more about modern technologies? Keep reading.
What is Technology in Simple Words?
Technology is the practical application of scientific knowledge to solve real-world problems and improve human welfare. It aims to achieve either a commercial or industrial objective.
Imagine a world with no ubiquitous technology, no internet, vehicles, phones, machines, and electricity. We can agree that it is a nightmare.
Every part of your daily life revolves around using technology. Do you own an online business? The internet and software tools you use are gifts of technology. It is true for our cooking tools, cars, buses, trains, and modern medicine.
Technology improves the human environment and solves problems. For example, early humans used stones to create fire, hunt, and forge weapons in the Stone Age. This technological development helped the early people survive.
Many other technological advances have propelled societal changes. The Internet and telephone made it possible to communicate with people from any location.
Today, many emerging technologies have a positive impact on our world. Take the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT as an example.
The AI tool answers any question you ask in a conversational tone. It can write business letters, code, songs, poems, short stories, resumes, and cover letters.
Some Popular Types of Technology
Technology is a broad concept you can split into different types based on the methods of application, problems they solve, and purposes they serve.
1. Medical Technology
Medical technology is the application of scientific knowledge to solving problems in the human body. Doctors and other medical experts use it to discover symptoms to prevent, delay and treat diseases.
When you hear medical technology, what's the first thing that pops into your mind? Most people think about syringes, catheters, ventilators, hip prostheses, pacemakers, ultrasound, and CT scanners. They are all correct.
Examples of Medical Technology
- MRI Scanners: A diagnostic radiologist uses this medical device to scan the human body to check for cancerous tissues, organ malfunctions, and torn ligaments.
- Remote Patient Monitoring: Observing the patient’s well-being is a huge concern for physicians. With remote patient monitoring devices, medical personnel can examine how patients respond to treatment from outside the hospital.
2. Mechanical Technology
Mechanical technology is using engineering knowledge to create machines that solve human problems. It aims to improve the manufacturing and engineering environment through different innovations.
Throughout human history, the contributions of mechanical technology impacted entire societies. In ancient Mesopotamia, they created wheels and used them to build carts for better transportation of people and goods.
In modern times, it helps us accomplish our essential daily tasks that usually involve mental and physical effort. These tasks include running cars, carrying heavy objects, and powering our heating and cooling systems.
Examples of Mechanical Technology
- Motors: This mechanical mechanism works by converting electrical currents into rotational movement. You can find motors in everyday devices like fans, water pumps, and washing machines.
- Gears or Cogwheels: Open any rotating machine and see this mechanical technology. Gears are what cause changes in power and speed. Moving machines like bicycles and ships use them.
3. Communication Technology
Communication technology uses tools and systems to pass messages to people. The first use of communication was using symbols to send messages about 30,000 years BCE. Some symbols used include cave paintings, petroglyphs, pictograms, and ideograms.
Every day we use this technology to communicate with one another. You are using a smartphone or laptop to read this blog post on the internet. That’s communication technology in motion.
Examples of Communications Technology
- Telephone: This device enables people to communicate from anywhere in the world. The early phones could only make voice calls. Today, you can make voice and video calls, send text messages, and browse the web with your smartphone.
- Internet Technologies: The internet is the most transformative technology of the modern world. You can use it to stay in contact with people beyond geographical barriers.
4. Industrial and Manufacturing Technology
Industrial and manufacturing technologies focus on faster, simpler, and more efficient production of machines, complex tools, engines, products, hardware parts, and processes. They help manufacturing companies increase production levels and achieve better productivity.
20 years ago, the thought of producing goods without human intervention was sci-fiction. Today, automation and data analysis are transforming the manufacturing field.
Examples of Industrial and Manufacturing Technology
- Smart Factories: Manufacturing environments that use well-connected technology to automate and improve processes for increased productivity. Manufacturers use smart robot technology to produce products faster and cheaper.
- 3D Printing: 3D printers help manufacturers to improve production speeds and reduce waste.
5. Electronic Technology
Electronic technology is the use of electric-powered devices and systems to process and transmit information.
A broad range of devices falls under this category: your laptop, tablet, phone, printer, television, and communication systems like satellite networks and the internet.
Examples of Electronic Technology
- Smart Television: You use it to watch your favorite shows, sports matches, and new stations.
- Digital Printers: Printers are essential business tools that are still relevant in today’s business environment. Although many businesses are switching from paper-based storage to the cloud, the printer is still important.
- ATMs: The invention of ATMs revolutionized how people got funds from the bank. You get cash without having to stay in long queues in the banking hall. People can also perform online transactions and transfers with their ATM cards.
6. Educational Technology
Educational technologies are tools and systems designed to improve learning and teaching for students and teachers.
Any tool that helps students learn new subjects and solve practical problems falls under this category. It can be an online learning platform providing easy access to educational and innovative materials.
Educational software like LearnWorlds and Thinkific improves the learning experience for students and teachers. You can take online courses on these platforms and learn the same things taught in a physical classroom.
Examples of Educational Technology
- Smart Classrooms: These classrooms are full of devices that make learning easier for students. You have computers, tablets, projectors, and other software tools connected to work as one. Students can easily access the internet for research, and teachers can send files to students.
- Virtual Reality: One of the best ways to teach is to present a subject in a personalized way to make it easily relatable. Through VR, students can relate better to the topic through a first-hand virtual experience rather than using their imaginations. Students can easily remember what they saw. VR has significantly changed the educational system from something seen as boring to a more engaging experience.
- Gamification: This technology helps students actively participate in the learning experience. They can take the driver's seat. Many school lessons are now in video game format. Students are more motivated to learn this way. Why? At the end of every lesson, there is a structured reward system for good grades.
7. Business Technology
Business technology refers to equipment, software, and systems that help organizations improve work productivity and accomplish tasks easier and faster.
Successful businesses use technology to drive their business operations and scale their growth. Even small businesses use it to keep up with the competition.
Examples of Business Technology
- Business Tools: The business tools you use to start and run your online business fall under this category. For example, they are your website and landing page builder, web host, webinar, video conferencing, email marketing, and keyword research tools.
- Security Tools: Security is a vital issue for every business. A wise business owner will invest in the right business security systems to keep the company physically and digitally safe. Only authorized users can access essential data with the right security software. Installing advanced motion detectors and security cameras helps reduce the risks of robbery.
- Communication Tools: Having the right technology means you can effectively communicate important goals and plans to employees. You can hold virtual meetings with team communication tools like Zoom and Monday.com.
8. Construction Technology
When you see heavy engineering structures like bridges and large buildings, that's the magnificent work of construction technology.
This technology covers advanced methods, simple and complex tools, and software systems used to build a structure.
Construction tools help builders to efficiently complete a project on time, within budget, and with minimum accidents.
Examples of Construction Technology
- 3D Houses from Printing to Design: 3-dimensional printing is widely used globally for construction because of its various benefits. 3D-printed houses are cheaper, faster, and more cost effective than traditional alternatives. Turning to the design, you can use floor plan software if you want to peek into or customize how your house looks inside. It helps you to arrange elements harmonically and effectively to cut costs and achieve visual perfection.
- Exoskeletons: They are wearable devices that can improve the abilities of construction workers. With an exoskeleton, construction workers can work better, faster, and with fewer mistakes. It helps them minimize workplace accidents and increase productivity. An exoskeleton is a whole-body suit that includes power gloves and support for arms, shoulders, and back.
- LiDAR Technology: Such 3D modeling tools let construction teams create 3D models of building sites and edifices, so they better plan their project stages and costs.
9. Assistive Technology
Assistive technology uses technical means and tools to improve the quality of life of dependent people. People with disabilities use it to carry out tasks that are relatively impossible or difficult to perform.
A disabled person who moves around in an off-road wheelchair and performs basic tasks uses assistive technology.
Examples of Assistive Technology
- Screen Readers: They help the visually impaired or blind to know what is on the computer screen. Staying connected is a lot easier for blind people because of this software. Examples of screen readers are JAWS for Windows, NVDA, or Voiceover for Mac.
- Text Readers: This software reads out text with a synthesized voice for those who cannot read. They come with a highlighter to emphasize the words spoken. Some of the most popular text-to-speech software (TTS) you have probably heard of are Murf, Descript, and Speechelo.
10. Entertainment Technology
Entertainment technology refers to the tools and systems that create an entertaining experience for people.
The media and entertainment industry relies heavily on this technology. Think about the special effects you see in movies, online streams, and VR games. They all fall under the category.
Examples of Entertainment Technology
- IoT-Driven Museums: Modern museums use emerging technologies like IoT and virtual reality to showcase historical art pieces, artifacts, and documents to visitors.
- Gaming on the Blockchain: Various games are emerging using blockchain technology, like Cryptokitties and Huntercoin. Blockchain games are making waves, and gamers are gravitating toward this idea.
Impacts of Technology on Our Society
The impact of technology touches every area of human living, like business, society, and culture. It has both positive and negative effects.
Positive Impacts of Technology
Technology contributes many positive things to our society. Thanks to advanced technology and increasingly more complex tools, we can accomplish tasks faster, increase our productivity, and improve the quality of human life.
1. Improves Learning Processes
Many helpful and relevant resources are available for learning. eBooks, blogs, online schools, visual aids, and audiobooks have changed how people acquire knowledge
Thanks to educational technology, learning is more interactive and collaborative. The internet gives you access to unlimited information.
Students can easily take advantage of innovative apps and tutorials online that encourage self-paced learning.
2. Ensures Better Communication Across Any Distance
Technology has impacted how people talk and communicate with one another. It brought in many new electronic communication methods like emails, face timing, and video conferencing applications.
Thanks to communication technology, an accounting firm in England can effectively communicate with clients from the United States. The firm can hire employees from different continents and hold virtual meetings via video conferencing software like Zoom.
3. Provides Quality Healthcare
Technological advancements in the medical industry improved the quality of health systems worldwide.
Medical technology helps doctors easily detect symptoms and diseases before they get out of hand. It also provides better safety equipment to prevent medical professionals from contracting diseases while treating patients.
Negative Impacts of Technology
Although technological progress is overwhelmingly positive, it has its downsides too. Technology disrupts social hierarchies and causes pollution and job losses.
1. Brings Deadlier Effect in Wars
Improvements in military technology like sophisticated guns, drones, fighter jets, armored tanks, bombs, and nuclear weapons worsened the effect of wars on human societies.
Take the destructive effect of the World Wars as an example. It led to millions of lost lives, the destruction of crucial infrastructures, and displaced families.
2. Causes Pollution
Technologies, especially fuel-powered machines, harm the environment. Some contributors are factories running heavy machines with diesel, coal, and petrol.
The negative impact of these technologies led to a surge in demand for clean energy alternatives. Today, industries are investing in solar, wind power, and other clean energy sources to overcome environmental challenges.
3. Has a Negative Influence on Social Communication
Recent technological developments like smartphones and the internet have impaired relations between people.
A study by the European Parliament shows the internet affects people in a negative way when it comes to socialization. This impact causes a massive decrease in physical and psychological well-being, especially among young people in society.
Advantages of Technology For Businesses
Technology has a powerful effect on businesses. According to a recent business survey, 99% of business owners use at least one digital technology in their daily operations.
Let's check out some notable benefits of technology for businesses.
1. Saves Time and Money
Businesses can rely on computers, apps, and devices that perform tasks faster, accurately, and effectively. Thanks to business software tools and the remote work trend, you can run a profitable online small business without renting an office and hiring many employees.
2. Improves Sharing of Information
An easy flow of information improves the speed at which business owners can operate effectively and make decisions.
Improving collaboration in your organization is essential, especially when you have remote workers. Online collaboration tools like Monday.com and ClickUp help you easily share information with employees and customers.
3. Increases Productivity
Technology helps you create products faster, more accurately, and efficiently with lower labor costs. Even if you are not selling physical goods, it helps improve your overall business productivity.
There are many technological systems online business owners can use to improve their businesses. They can use accounting software like QuickBooks to manage their bookkeeping and CRM software like Salesforce to boost customer relationships.
4. Improves Data Storage
In the past, businesses stored data in paper records. The problem with this storage style was that it could get lost or destroyed and disrupt business operations.
Thanks to technological improvements in data storage, businesses can use cloud storage and file-sharing services to keep information securely on the cloud. The wonderful thing about saving on the cloud is that you can access the data from any location.
Disadvantages of Technology For Businesses
1. Brings Security Risks
Technology is not always safe. It is easy to lose business data on the internet without caution. Hackers and other cybercriminals can easily access your company's database if you don’t use an effective security system.
Luckily, you can protect your business database with better technology. Use online security systems to guard every aspect of your company. Also, use strong password generators to create random passwords that are difficult to hack.
Computer viruses are another threat to your business. It can ruin your computer systems, steal or damage essential company files, and leak sensitive internal information.
Cybercriminals use different malware attacks like ransomware to freeze your system and hold you for ransom.
If you want to protect your business systems from these attacks, installing the best antivirus protection and anti-spyware software is crucial. Don’t wait until your business data gets compromised and take preventive measures.
2. Is Expensive to Purchase and Maintain
New technologies can be expensive to buy. Most small businesses avoid using many cutting-edge technologies because of their high costs.
Buying technology is not the only cost involved. If you want it to work effectively, you must factor in maintenance costs.
On-premise business software requires constant updates to ensure it is always up-to-date. The cost of training employees on how to use your business technologies can be expensive too.
3. Results in Social or Workplace Disconnection
Task automation can result in social and workplace disconnection. Employees can become less engaged at work due to feelings of underachievement or workplace boredom.
Overdependence on technology affects workplace relationships significantly. Employees and business managers communicate through emails, phones, and text messages instead of in-person conversations. It can cause employees to feel disconnected from their superiors and peers.
Technology allows fewer employees to show up physically to work due to the ability to work remotely. Although it can improve productivity, the social aspect of the company may begin to fall apart. The results are isolation, disconnection, and loss of boundaries.
4. Becomes a Distraction
The internet can be a powerful distraction, especially at work. Every employee has a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop computer to assess the world wide web.
Hopefully, employees will use the internet for research and communication while at work. However, they may browse, watch YouTube shorts, and read tweets.
According to Clockify, 50-99% of employees feel distracted at work. The top causes of these distractions are mobile phone/texting and the internet.
Technology vs. Science. What is the Difference?
Science and technology share a close relationship. They have the goal of improving human society.
In many dictionaries, technology is an applied science that uses scientific methods and knowledge to form reasonable conclusions in the practical world.
Can you tell the differences between these two terms?
|Meaning||Science comes from Old French and is derived from the Latin word “Scientia,” which stands for “knowledge.” Today, the primary meaning of “science” is generally limited to an empirical study involving the use of the scientific method.||If you break down the Greek word “Technologia”, you have “Techne” – the craft or art through which you gain a thing and “Logos” – a saying. It relies on multiple science areas, such as pure and applied sciences, industrial arts, and engineering.|
|Aims and Objectives||The pursuit of knowledge.||Use scientific knowledge to create innovative products that solve problems, mainly for industrial or commercial objectives.|
|Uses||Science is for making predictions or creating theories. For example, meteorologists make predictions based on information generated from scientific instruments like thermometers, barometers, and hygrometers.||Technology simplifies human life and fulfills the needs of people. For example, thermometers, barometers, and hygrometers are technological tools that make scientific weather prediction easier and more accurate.|
|Careers||Top careers in science include: Biochemist, Chemist, Environmental Scientist, Geoscientist, Hydrologist, Medical Scientist, Computer and Information Research Scientist, Atmospheric Scientist, and Nuclear Technician.||Careers in the technology industry include: Data Scientist, Software Developer, Robotics Engineer, Web Developer, Cloud Engineer, Cybersecurity Specialist, Video Game Designer, and Database Administrator.|
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